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30 октября 2003 года.  
Nabokov looks for first victory since February - San Jose Mercury

By Victor Chi

TAMPA, Fla. - When Evgeni Nabokov beat Vancouver back on Feb. 27, he snapped the Canucks' 14-game unbeaten streak.

Since then, Nabokov is on a 14-game winless streak at 0-9-5.

He gets a crack at ending that skid today when he returns to action against Tampa Bay -- the league's only remaining unbeaten team at 6-0.

"You can't try to do too much," said Nabokov, who served as Vesa Toskala's backup Tuesday in Carolina.

"We need to win, but don't try to win the game before the game starts. Concentrate on winning every shift. Win the shifts, win the periods. Then you win the games."

Winning games has been a huge problem for the Sharks, who are 1-5-3 this season.

After finishing last season on a 0-5-2 skid, Nabokov has opened this season 0-4-3.

He shut out Philadelphia on Oct. 16, but it was good enough only for a tie.

"He's been sharp at times," coach Ron Wilson said. "The best thing that'll happen is that he gets a win under his belt and then he'll just relax. Take a deep breath and just go, 'Whew!' Because the longer you go without that win, those bad voices in your head will talk to you sometimes and disrupt things."

Part of the problem for Nabokov, according to Wilson, is that the club's lack of offense through nine games offers little margin of error for the goalie.

"We've had trouble scoring on our opportunities and then the pressure mounts, and any mistake a goalie makes gets magnified," Wilson said. "We've got to get some things done in games so maybe he can get a little more comfortable in net. None of our goalies have had at any point anything more than a two-goal lead."

Mental lapses on defense have also resulted in the opposition scoring an inordinate number of goals off odd-man situations.

Unlike last season when Nabokov's subpar performance was the product of missing camp with a contract hassle, he was strong in exhibitions this year and looked as though he had recaptured his old form.

"It's not really worth it to talk about last year," Nabokov said. "It's over. I have to concentrate on this year and play better."

But he acknowledged a difference between last season and this season.

"I feel better now," Nabokov said. "I don't want to make excuses, because personally I felt really good when I came back last year. But something was missing."

This season Nabokov has been functioning without goaltending coach Warren Strelow, who is home in Minnesota recovering from kidney-transplant surgery. Strelow, who has a satellite dish to monitor the Sharks, hopes to return to the club by Thanksgiving.

But Nabokov doesn't want to cite Strelow's absence as an excuse for his struggles.

"We talk on the phone all the time," Nabokov said. "It always helps just to talk to somebody who understands what a goalie is going through."

Players mired in a slump will use whatever they can to get back on track.

For Nabokov, it might be the motivation to represent Russia in the World Cup next fall. And tonight his Tampa Bay counterpart is Nikolai Khabibulin, who was Russia's No. 1 goalie at the 2002 Olympics.

Although he carries a Russian passport, Nabokov remains ineligible under rules of the International Ice Hockey Federation to play for Russia in the Olympics and world championships because in 1994 he represented Kazakhstan, which was part of the Soviet Union when he was born.

But the IIHF doesn't hold jurisdiction over the World Cup, a joint venture between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association.

"It's one of the best tournaments; you always look forward to it," Nabokov said. "But right now I could care less. I'm not really thinking about the World Cup. The season is on, and I don't have much time to think about anything else. Whatever happens, happens. It's out of my control."

Страничка Евгения Набокова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


23 октября. Набоков ждет наследника - Советский Спорт

29 сентября. Nabokov eager to stop doubts about goaltending - Mercury News

18 марта. Евгений Набоков: "Еще день - и я вернулся бы в "Динамо"

12 февраля. Медовая мечта Евгения Набокова


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